Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I am drawn to watch because I see things in them that I want to be. I see things in them that I lack.  A wasteful mourning process. Observation without action...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pastor Fired

I am not a member of any church nor do I have a desire to be one.  As an agnostic, I find it hard to fit into the hard fast mold of any church.  My wife and children, however, are members of a local church - conservative christian.   My interactions with this church overall, have been positive.  The people I have met for the most part seem to be genuine (any large group has its "eccentric" members), the staff seems to have the best interest of my family in mind (even if I don't agree with them theologically) and the pastor seems to be a genuinely nice, humble person.  

Out of the blue this past week, he was fired.  Effective immediately, no severance.  No reason was given, only a vague statement about the egregious nature of his "sin" and how his family will need time to heal.  I'm choosing to read "affair" into that.  It may not be and for the purposes of this little post, what he did really isn't important.  What concerns me is the shock that comes with his "failure".  This is big news!  People cried when the statement was read.  There's a bunch of whispering going on.  Until it's divulged what his offense was, I'm sure it will continue.  

This is my concern.  I liked the pastor.  He was a nice guy.  Really.  I'm not in the least bit shocked that this happened.  Not because I hate pastors or think they're all frauds (sometimes I wonder), but because he's just a guy.  If he cheated on his wife, I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed.  Not because he's a pastor, but because he let his emotions dictate his decision making process even when he knew they were going against a commitment he made to his wife.  Pastors are no different than lay people.  They've just spent more time studying a subject most people think is important but can't find much time to study themselves.  Standing up in front of people to discuss the findings of your studies doesn't make you a better person, it shouldn't hold you to a higher standard, it's just the job you're paid to do.  If I cheat on my wife, I'm an asshole, but I get to keep my job.  When a pastor does, he can no longer support his family and the reality of the situation is, unless you're a larger than life egomaniacal mega church pastor, you probably won't be pastoring a congregation any time soon.  

Why is this?  Why can't pastors be human too?  Why do they have to be held to a higher moral standard? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

the whole

you really can't take individual pieces of your life and purposely let them slide, hoping the rest of your life won't be affected.  i don't think it's possible.  it creates an atmosphere, a culture of sliding if you will.  when you're (i should switch to first person) willing to let one area slide for any length of time, i'm willing to let others slide as well.  that's not to say i should be perfectionistic in everything i do, just aware that individual areas of my life don't occur in a vacuum. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

a continuation from yesterday on self worth

i guess i never really thought about the basic message of christianity.  i've often thought of the absurdity of teenage girl getting pregnant and claiming it the work of the holy spirit.  i just don't see how that would fly in any time period.  even way back when, in a more simpler time when mystery was certainly more widely accepted, it seems quite a stretch.  admittedly, i can't prove it didn't happen, i'm just amazed that so many people do believe this to be real. 

what struck me recently, though, was just how potentially damaging the message, not the details, of christianity may be.  when you grow up in something you just think of it as normal.  growing up in a conservative thread of christianity, being told that we were damaged goods due to adam's sin, was just par for the course.  i didn't see anything wrong with it. even as an adult, it certainly explained all the bad in the world.  even when i left christianity, i didn't leave the thought process of "marred by sin" through adam.  i left behind the belief that only jesus as he is understood through the bible and, more importantly, via the apostle paul, is the path to eternal life if there is, in fact life after death.  but i never questioned the idea of sin.  i am now questioning that.  to be certain, there are things that happen that are bad.  there are people who don't hold back there own desires when they trample on someone elses.  there are many people, myself included, that don't fully understand that living a selfless life will bring fullfillment.  i think jesus understood that and i wonder if the message that's being preached today by the main-stream church, was anything like the message he was preaching 2000 years ago.  forget about his divinity.  what about just the basics of his message. 

was his message really...

you suck because some dude thousands of years ago really messed up.  he messed up so bad that his creator, his dad, whose image he was created in, can't be near him.  he can't be near you either.  well, that's not completely true.  IF you follow this other dude that lived about 2000 years ago as he's interpretted by yet another dude who never even met him in person, then you can commune with your creator. 

sounds just as crazy as some buried tablets found in upstate ny.  but that's not the point here!  the point is the message.  the message is you suck.  yes, you reflect your creator somehow, but you still suck. 

the ultimate in conditional love - you suck because some dude thousands of years ago fucked up.  but wait...if you follow this dude that lived 2000 years ago, as interpreted by some other dude that never met him in person (only in a dream/vision) then you're worthy of being loved by your creator.  

how is this any better than finding tablets buried in upstate NY?

Monday, April 8, 2013

self worth

this morning, after skipping the gym for the start of my 5th week in a row, i got into the shower and the first "words" in my mind were, "You suck!"

a true indication of where i am but exactly where i should not be.  really, should anyone be there? 

i have 4 kids and am completely against the type of parenting that only gives children positive reinforcement even when they just hit their sibling over the head with a bat to get the ice cream they wanted.  but this morning did give me pause at the message that was communicated to me as a child and the message i'm communicating to my children. 

brought up in the church you're taught that you're a sinner and you can't do anything about it.  confess your sins, ask jesus to help keep you away from sins, build fences around your life to keep the sins away, etc.  while there were people around me who had the "you suck because you're human" attitude,  i don't think my parents, friends parents or my average teacher (with the exception of my hs bible teacher) ever specifically said "you suck".  it's much more subliminal than that.  we're told we're created in god's image, but that image was severely marred by sin.  and...there's nothing YOU can do about it.  best you can do is what i stated above. 

well that does suck.  i do make choices.  often they're selfish.  often i could have made a better choice.  but it's still my choice.  i'm not defined by adam's sin.  i'm defined by my choices.  if i am made in god's image, then i reflect a pretty amazing...(well that's hard to define)...and i don't think i need to believe adam is to be taken literally.  i'm not sure why god would create me selfish, but i generally put myself first.  HOWEVER, the good thing about choices is, you can choose differently next time.  maybe you won't, maybe you will.  bottom line is that you, that i have the ability to choose the kind, loving, healthy, non-selfish choice.  i often do.  if i can make that good choice, i am good.  i don't suck. 

i don't want that to be self-help psycho babel, but i don't want to define myself by the "bad" more than the "good".  i am not incapable of making the right choices. 

i would like to think that the fall really is just a human attempt at explaining why bad is in the world.  a story of a possibility rather than historic fact. 

blogger tells me, on average, 12 people read every post i write...your thoughts??

Monday, February 18, 2013


“Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life
"life is inherently tragic, and that is the truth that only faith, but not our seeming logic, can accept."
Richard Rohr - Falling Upward
"Faith is our response to loss, to the fact that, in time, we grow up and see through the self-perpetuating myths that seek to control us.  We see through this.  An yet we still pray!  Love is called for from us in spite of everything!  We cannot imagine a life where sacrifice and love do not exist hand in hand and become the foundation for everything we hold dear." 

"Is our longing for God more than an elaborate cover for our fear of death?  Why does the silence of God need to be covered up by a torrent of human words?  Is theology more than an excuse for God's bad behavior?  That we seek meaning is another way to say we fear death.  We call our desire for meaning the voice of God.  Maybe the desire for meaning is itslef an indication that there is a God, indeed, the voice of God in us.  Does a child call out for her mother in the night if she has never known her?  Perhaps our longing for meaning is the echo of God.  I hope so."

Frank Schaeffer